Hold the US-Duterte regime accountable for worsening economic and political crisis
The Filipino people are gravely suffering under the increasingly acute economic and political crisis of the ruling system under the US-Duterte regime. This is a result of the regime’s adamance to implement neoliberal economic policies while imposing its tyranny and fascism to railroad these policies and establish its dictatorship.
The backward, non-industrial, agrarian, import-dependent and export-oriented economic is in crisis. Like the past regimes, the Duterte regime blindly follows neoliberal polices. He is now pushing for all-out liberalization in trade and investments, especially in further liberalizing importation of rice and other agricultural products.
The regime portrays these as solution to the lack of supply and high food prices. It obscures how local productive capacity has been wrecked by all-out liberalization since the 1990s and how local production sorely lacks state support. Over the past two decades, the local economy has further been debilitated, and has become ever dependent on importing food and other necessities.
Foreign trade is become ever unequal. The trade deficit in the first seven months of the year has reached unprecedented levels. The balance of payment deficit has shot up. Last week, the dollar slid to P54 to the US dollar, its lowest in close to one decade and a half.
As before, Duterte favors and seeks to attract foreign and local big capitalist investments. His “Build, Build, Build” program aims to build the infrastructure for their needs. These include hydroelectric dams, roads, railways, airports and others. These serve to connect the “special economic zones” with the international assembly line of multinational corporations. Millions face threats of being ran over in their farm lands, ancestral lands, homes, fishing ground and other sources of livelihood.
Bureaucrat capitalists are drooling over infrastructure projects to pocket kickbacks. Many of these project contracts have been awarded to cronies, dummies and relatives of Duterte and his minions, as well as to favored big bourgeois compradors.
The Duterte regime is bankrupt. It is set on borrowing close to P900 billion this year, a large part from foreign agencies at high interests. For the Philippines to get a higher “grade” as a creditor country, Duterte imposed a slew of taxes under the TRAIN law, a measure long pushed for by foreign credit rating agencies.
Prices of commodities have skyrocketed this year. Last August, inflation shot up to 6.4%, the highest in almost a decade. Prices of rice, fish and other foodstuff, oil and other necessities are soaring, while ordinary people’s wages and income remain low.
The crisis in the economy and people’s livelihood further isolates the Duterte regime from the people and engenders a severe political crisis.
To stabilize his regime, Duterte is resorting more to state terrorism to impose intimidation and fear. Thousands upon thousands are being aggravated by Oplan Kapayapaan, Mindanao martial law, Oplan Tokhang and its war against the Moros.
By unleashing terrorism and rampant abuses by state forces, Duterte is now among the most detested icons of fascism in Philippine history. In the recent proceedings in Belgium of the International People’s Tribunal, Duterte and US President Donald Trump were found guilty of widespread violations of the Filipino people’s human rights.
Duterte is becoming more isolated because of the consolidation of the Duterte-Marcos-Arroyo alliance. Internal rifts within the ruling regime are sharpening as the jostle over pork barrel and bureaucratic privilege. Duterte’s scheme to impose his own dictatorship in the guise of “charter change” is being opposed even by some of his allies.
The ranks of various democratic forces united and determined to intensify their common struggle to oust Duterte from Malacañang are expanding. This is exemplified by the increasingly larged demonstations mounted these past months.
To consolidate his power, Duterte wishes to extend Mindanao martial law and impose it nationwide.
However, the combination of the economic and political crisis only fans the flames of people’s resistance. There is widespread clamor for a solution to skyrocketing prices, costs of education, medicine and other necessaries. There is resounding demand of workers for higher wages, jobs and job security and their right to unionize and strike.
In the countryside, the peasant masses and minority peoples are being compelled to struggle for land, assert their right to till idle land for food production and push for just farm prices for their produce and state subsidies for agricultral production.
The revolutionary armed struggle being waged by the New People’s Army advances solidly nationwide. The declarations made by Duterte the AFP to crush the NPA before 2018 or by the middle of 2019 will be frustrated. Everyday, the NPA grows as more and more people want to take up arms to oppose the AFP’s armed suppression to defend the interests of big capitalists.
The economic and political crisis under the Duterte regime exemplify the inexorable and accelerated decay of the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. The people are suffering from the sharp crisis and socio-economic degeneration.
The situation is favorable for waging armed and other forms of struggle to overthrow the fascist, rotten and puppet US-Duterte regime and carry forward the national democratic revolution.